Bombshell

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The very sexist, very right-wing empire of Fox News is in the centre of Bombshell, a film that blends fact and fiction to tell the story of how chairman Roger Ailes was publicly ousted of his perennial throne (not before taking home the very comfortable sum of $40 million). The title Bombshell— a sharp wordplay, reflects on the starring trio of Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie; a blonde royal flush of sorts.

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(LFF 2019) Instinct

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  • Original title: Instinct
  • Director: Halina Reijn
  • Release year: 2019
  • Original language: Dutch

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Instinct had its UK premiere at the London Film Festival 2019

In a post-Game of Thrones world, it is tempting to imagine what some of the prime actors of the multi-awarded HBO phenomenon will move onto. Newcomer director Halina Heijn handpicks Carice Van Houten as the star of her directorial debut Instinct, a sexually charged tale of a prison psychologist playing a very dangerous cat and mouse game with one of her patients, a convicted serial rapist.

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The Souvenir

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  • Original title: The Souvenir
  • Director: Joanna Hogg
  • Release year: 2019
  • Original language: English

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Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) is an aspiring filmmaker hungry for a deeper understanding of the world and its maladies. Fighting against telling her own story onscreen, she dives into the fictional tale of a working class boy obsessed with his mother, in a film that takes place in Sutherland, the striking opposite of her Harrods-facing Knightsbridge flat. The young woman is hyper-aware of the bubble she was raised in, one she desperately tries to break from, while still making the most of her entitled life by hosting house parties and having expensive dinners on some of the most prestigious places in London.

The journey of the protagonist is suddenly shaken by the arrival of Anthony (Tom Burke), an older man whose previous military career and current Foreign Office position grant him a worldly aura that easily draws Julie in. Their fresh romance unravels at the fast pace of a first love and soon Julie is saying goodbye to her flatmates and welcoming her beloved in. Anthony arrogantly talks her down, sending Julie into a spiral of self-doubt she struggles to escape from. Their toxic relationship exposes the young woman to a myriad of painful feelings her favoured life had sheltered her from. Both the apartment and Julie are rapidly submitted to the wreckage of Anthony’s unpredictable behaviour, scarred by the growing tension in their relationship.

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Boyle, Tarantino and the beauty of the ‘could have been’

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Alert: major spoilers ahead!

In July, Danny Boyle’s latest film Yesterday hit British cinemas with a simple premise: a world without The Beatles. The film made the most out of the idea of this parallel reality by bringing to the viewers a scene in which the main character, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), gets to meet John Lennon, well and alive and, enjoying a tranquil life by the sea. 

Quentin Tarantino’s newest project, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, also utilises film to propose a different ending to a well-known real-life event. The director twists the heart-breaking Tate Murders of 1969,  by bringing a completely different massacre to the screen. 

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Vox Lux

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  • Original title: Vox Lux
  • Director: Brady Corbet
  • Release year: 2018
  • Original language: English

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The sequence at the early start of Vox Lux is one unfortunately too familiar. One disturbed student enters a classroom with a gun in hand and nothing but hatred in mind. One of the bullets fired on the day lodged itself in the spine of young Celeste, who was turned into a symbol for the grieving community. Her voice, in the form of a touching song, sends the girl into the eye of the media hurricane. A beat later and Celeste has an agent and a record label, travelling around the world with her older sister, carefully planning every step of her then early career.

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